Sasha and the Valentines
Faithful to their name, Austin-based five piece Sasha and the Valentines have written a record about love.
On their debut LP, So You Think You Found Love? (out via Oof Records), the promising young band has written the soundtrack to your next romance, capable of giving you the curly-phone-cord, calling-your-crush-for-the-first-time kind of butterflies.
So You Think You Found Love? is a billet-doux to past entanglements and past selves with a brashness in its honesty about relational dynamics and the fear of being alone—this playing into and surpassing the lushness and grandeur of their indie-kitsch genre. Their sound evokes a lot of things—a Brill Building pop sensibility, synthesizers from a 1980s soundtrack, the contemporaries of Tennis or UMO or Beach House—but it does so in a way that creates spaces of comfort and of knownness.
With a name that recalls Motown acts like Diana Ross & the Supremes, “Sasha” acts as an amalgamated alter ego for principal songwriter and vocalist, Sarah Addi, and the other members of the band: JB (bass), Billy (drums), Tim (aux. percussion), and borrowing its namesake from the Russian nickname for Alex (guitar). “Sasha” is a persona that Addi takes on, but is also a genderless character that can be embodied by everyone: the other band members or the audience themselves. Crushing on the iconic sounds of ABBA and Blondie, Addi set out to create her own project that not only verbalized her emotions, but did so in a way that is purposefully vague and open-ended. Her lyricism is impressionistic—almost as though flirting with the meaning itself—leaving the words to be interpreted. Addi credits this ambiguity to the lingering shame of codependency in past relationships and coming to terms with her queerness. Their coquettish lead single, “Witches,” introduces the record with a striking staccato synth that gives way to the unfurling expanse of instrumentation. “Well you know you wanna talk about it,” Addi’s siren-like voice calls, drawing you in its depths. Thematically, the record finds itself reflecting on Addi’s role as a compulsive healer and supporter in relationships, as well as her need to be needed, and reckons with a deeper internal fight for control. As she attempts to be indispensable, rejections and pain are pushed out of frame by a heart that is as pensive as it is preoccupied. Sasha and the Valentines have learned the alchemical recipe for spinning sadness into gold. It’s clear that Sasha & the Valentines have their heart set on winning you over with their debut, and that’s exactly what they’ll do.